This article examines how the preeminent leftist crime writer of 1970s France, Jean-Patrick Manchette, engaged with the Delonian archetype of criminal masculinity. By drawing out hitherto overlooked ways Manchette’s last novel, The Prone Gunman (La position du tireur couché), was in dialogue with both Jean-Pierre Melville’s crime films (notably Le samouraï [The Samurai]) and with a broader tradition of Anglophone crime film and fiction, the article argues for the importance of masculinity to understanding Manchette’s efforts to radicalize the roman noir (crime novel) and subvert from within the hypermasculine thriller. Indeed, the transnational filiations and appropriations that inform works like The Prone Gunman and Le samouraï demonstrate the need to conceptualize both gender and genre in broader contexts than they have often been given in studies of French crime fiction. While this article is primarily a study of noir in the French context, it is concerned more broadly with the question how the reception of Manchette’s work might allow us to measure the progress that has (or has not) been made toward regendering or ungendering crime fiction.
Research Article|April 01 2018